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The greatest golfer ever?

Poll Results: Greatest Golfer in history

 
  • 23% (5)
    Bobby Jones
  • 28% (6)
    Jack Nicklaus
  • 19% (4)
    Tiger Woods
  • 4% (1)
    Ben Hogan
  • 4% (1)
    Sam Snead
  • 4% (1)
    Arnold Palmer
  • 0% (0)
    Tom Watson
  • 0% (0)
    Byron Nelson
  • 0% (0)
    Gary Player
  • 4% (1)
    Babe Didriksen Zaharias
  • 0% (0)
    Phil Mickelson
  • 0% (0)
    Annika Sorenstam
  • 0% (0)
    Walter Hagen
  • 0% (0)
    Seve Ballesteros
  • 0% (0)
    Nick Faldo
  • 9% (2)
    Other
21 Total Votes  
post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Not to knock the prodigious accomplishments of Jack, Tiger, et al but I've always felt history's best golfer was the legendary amateur Bobby Jones.  Who gets your vote?

 

I've done pencil drawings of Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler in the past but this is my first rendition of the original Grand Slam winner

 

post #2 of 25

No question about it. From ESPN:

 

Quote:
 

The greatest golfer in history...

 

 

Kim Jong-Il
Associated PressKim Jong-Il never needed a swing coach to master the sport of golf.
 

Kim shot 38 under, including 11 holes-in-one, at the 7,700-yard championship course at Pyongyang in the VERY FIRST golf round of his life, according to North Korean state media. This was in 1994, when Kim was 52 years old. Even more impressive, Kim stood just 5-foot-3, yet he was able to overpower a course as long as any ever played in major championship history. Who knows how good Kim could have been if he had taken up the sport earlier? Who knows how many times he bested 38 under in the 17 years since his first round?

 

http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=7369649

post #3 of 25

I vote for Bill Murray (not because of Caddyshack). He knows how to enjoy the game in style.

post #4 of 25

Though he will never be in Kim Jong-Il's league have to vote for Tiger.  

 

How many times has the world been told that his career is over and he he keeps coming back and winning.  It will be a long time before anybody gets close to his numbers again is so many categories.  How many injuries, and wins while injured?  Who has grown the sport more?  Not even the tour pros this year wanted to vote him 'Player of the Year', but how could they not with his record this year again.

 

You do not have to like the guy, but what would you give to have his game?

post #5 of 25
Due to glitch, can't vote in the poll.

BUT, it's gotta be Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear.
post #6 of 25

The  best golfer by won/lost record?  That is easy: Bobby Jones.  The best ever?  That is possible but we'll never know.  The hickory game is different, requiring more of a "swing" than a "hit."  Regardless, Jones had the complete game.  He made no mental mistakes during his great run, he was a very long driver of the ball and he had a great short game.

 

The best is overall game?  Tiger Woods.  Unlike Nicklaus he had no shortcomings until recently.  Nicklaus had a mediocre wedge game.  Of course, there was no Pelz around during the Nicklaus era with the statistics and techniques used now.  Tiger now seemingly has some issues that could keep him from obtaining Jack's record of major victories.  He has changed his swing a lot, some say injuries won't go away, some say his head isn't the same.  Who knows?  Time will tell if he is the greatest ever.

 

Best player ever that most of us saw?  Right now in is Jack Nicklaus.  He never seemed to crack.  He let other players lose by playing a smarter game.  His MacGregor Tourney was a total POS and probably kept him from winning a few more majors (see: http://golfweek.com/news/2009/nov/25/looking-back-macgregors-golf-balls/ ), but Nicklaus never complained.  His 100 yard in game was fair, but his putting was deadly, his irons accurate and his length off the tee was legendary.

 

Nicest swinger of the club?  Has to be Sam Snead or Ernie Els.  Snead was in the era that switched from hickory to steel.

 

Most efficient swing?  Hogan.

 

Most fun to watch?  Either Lee Trevino or Walter Hagen (from the books I've read).

 

Best female golfer:  After reading what Bobby Jones wrote in the American Golfer about his rounds with Joyce Wethered, it is hard to think anyone else could come close including Babe Zaharius.  He claimed Wethered, when adjusting for the differences due to her sex, was the "greatest golfer I ever saw."  Too bad the girls taking up the game today never heard of her.

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
 

Though he will never be in Kim Jong-Il's league have to vote for Tiger.  

 

How many times has the world been told that his career is over and he he keeps coming back and winning.  It will be a long time before anybody gets close to his numbers again is so many categories.  How many injuries, and wins while injured?  Who has grown the sport more?  Not even the tour pros this year wanted to vote him 'Player of the Year', but how could they not with his record this year again.

 

You do not have to like the guy, but what would you give to have his game?

 

If you ask me, Tiger is a little squirrely.

post #8 of 25

Best amateur: Bobby Jones

 

Best pro career: Jack Nicklaus (unless Tiger starts wining majors again very soon)

 

Best golf season ever: Tiger Woods, 2000 - who played against significantly tougher competition than Jones.  Plus, his scoring average that year is the lowest in PGA Tour history, both adjusted, 67.79, and unadjusted, 68.17.  ESPN did an analysis a few years back and demonstrated statistically how it was the most dominant season ever in all of professional sports.

 

Best golfer for any decade: Tiger Woods

 

For the record, I think Tiger's wins per start record is way more impressive than Jones.  Volume matters.

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

Interesting viewpoints.

 

I thought Hogan said Mickey Wright had the greatest swing ever man or woman.

 

Rarely mentioned is what I consider Tiger's most amazing accomplishment:  142 consecutive cuts made.   (Byron Nelson 113, Jack Nicklaus 105, Hale Irwin 86)

post #10 of 25

Golf can be a little US centric due to the strenght of the PGA, but I would think Peter Thompson would rate a mention.

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxman View Post
 

Golf can be a little US centric due to the strenght of the PGA, but I would think Peter Thompson would rate a mention.

 

For what category?  Best British Open golfer?

post #12 of 25

I rest my case.... a country that thinks it is okay to call a domestic competion the World Series...... :words:

post #13 of 25

Very difficult to make comparisons across the ages.

 

Tiger Woods should not even be on the poll, he plays golf but does not qualify as a golfer.

 

Bobby Jones.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxman View Post
 

I rest my case.... a country that thinks it is okay to call a domestic competion the World Series...... :words:

 

You do realize Nicklaus and Tiger have their share of British Open wins in addition to everything else, right?  You can't really put him in the same category.  I actually do have a fitting title for Peter Thomson: Most underrated golfer.  His string of wins at the Open is impressive for sure and he's probably the least famous golfer to win more than 2 majors (much less 5).

post #15 of 25

So now you are getting defensive because i question your US centric view of the World. Peter Thomson is plenty famous for his golf, just not in the US.   Nicholas won all over the World  (as did Arnold Palmer and Gary Player) and didnt need multi million dollar appearance fees to do so.  Many US golfers don't make it to Europe, let alone play the (British) Open because the money isnt in it, or it interferes with Thanksgiving or Aunt Maude's birthday (and the money isnt in it).

 

Now I wouldnt seriously consider Peter Thomson for greatest golfer in the World; he didn't have a serious crack at the US in his prime but managed to  quite well when he went back and played the seniors tour in the 1980's. And as MrGolfAnalogy said it is difficult to make comparisons over the ages.  But if I had to make a call, Nicholas (73 PGA wins) by a hir's breadth from Annika Sörenstam (72 LPGA wins and very tough competition including from Liselotte Neumann, Laura Davies and  Karrie Webb).


Edited by Taxman - 10/28/13 at 11:05pm
post #16 of 25

Take a Valium or something.  I'm being complimentary of Peter Thomson - who you love so much you misspelled his name.  To say he's behind Tiger and Jack isn't US centric at all, it's just logical.  I can throw stats at you all day but that's a waste of time.

 

And compared to all of the other golfers to win 5 or more majors, tell me which one is less widely known than Thomson?


Edited by JayT - 10/29/13 at 7:27am
post #17 of 25

No need to get your panties in a knot; try addressing what I wrote in full rather than the bit that obviously upsets you.

post #18 of 25

How about Old Tom Morris?  He at least deserves an honorable mention here.

 

Imagine being consistently competitive with the equipment he had, feather stuffed balls must have been fun to putt on a sheep shorn green.  Must have been like skiing bumps on jumping skis.  (Besides he still looks pretty good for his age in the TV ads.)

post #19 of 25

^^ But if everyone else is using the same equipment, I'm not sure I understand the disadvantage.  If anything modern equipment makes it more difficult for the truly talented to stand out... or at least that's what Nicklaus and many others have argued anyway.

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
 

How about Old Tom Morris?  He at least deserves an honorable mention here.

 

Imagine being consistently competitive with the equipment he had, feather stuffed balls must have been fun to putt on a sheep shorn green.  Must have been like skiing bumps on jumping skis.  (Besides he still looks pretty good for his age in the TV ads.)


Old Tom had a very sad personal life, losing much of his family to misfortune.  His first son, Thomas, died at age four.  His next son, born after he went to Prestwick ("Young" Tommy Morris) was a four time Open victor, but died a young man.  Old Tom lost his daughter-in-law and grandson during childbirth, and Young Tom soon after on Christmas Day at the young age of 24.  Old Tom outlived his wife, daughter (Elizabeth), all his sons and died after falling down a flight of stairs. 

 

There is a reason why the Open Championship is played on different courses.  Young Tom won three in a row, and the domination of the Morris family was too overwhelming (professionals were generally held in lower esteem to wealthy amateurs) by 1870 with Old Tom being runner-up.  The Open was suspended in 1871 when playing different courses was the agreed upon solution.  Young Tom won in 1872, making it four in a row.

 

Old Tom apprenticed and also played matches with and against Allan Robertson, who had the typically protected business (thanks to the king) of making featheries.  Roberson fired him when Old Tom began experimenting with the gutties (gutta-percha).  The gutty was better on many levels.  It didn't fall apart when wet, it flew straighter when nicked up a bit by the caddies before playing  (this was before lines, mesh, bramble and dimples), and it was cheaper.  Tom was a "keeper of the greens", a top clubmaker and was partly responsible the the design and remodeling of several great golf courses, including Carnoustie, Cruden Bay, Muirfeld,  Prestwick, and Royal Dornoch.  In some ways (clubmaking is only one of them) Old Tom is synonymous with St. Andrews.  

 

Today we have great golfers who are also great golf course architects.  The past generation of golfers also helped design clubs.  But no got their hands dirty and did it all like Old Tom Morris. 

post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 

Interesting responses.  Without fanning the flames let's hear your pick for the best player never to win a major (or at least not yet).  Over the years a lot of great players were saddled with that title but eventually broke through:  Tom Kite, Freddy Couples, Corey Pavin, and Davis Love III (I was in the 18th green stands at Winged Foot when the rainbow came out) just to name a few.

 

Choices that come to mind:

 

Active players

Steve Stricker

Luke Donald

Lee Westwood

Sergio Garcia

Henrik Stenson

 

Not so active, Champions Tour,  or retired

Colin Montgomerie

Bruce Lietzke

Jay Haas

Kenny Perry

(I'm not counting Senior Majors in this tally)

 

Your thoughts?

post #22 of 25

Ok - my oddball suggested candidates for greatest golfer to never win a major

Moe Norman

Paul Runyan

post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Ok - my oddball suggested candidates for greatest golfer to never win a major

Moe Norman

Paul Runyan

Good choices.  Moe Norman had a fascinating career.  What an interesting career.  He held the course record at dozens of Canadian courses in his lifetime.

post #24 of 25

My measure of golf greatness is maybe different from most but Payne Stewart ties with Jack Nicklaus in my book.

 

From a google search of top Ryder Cup moments

 

"For so many reasons, the 1999 Ryder Cup has to be the most memorable for U.S. fans. But who can forget Payne Stewart? One month before his tragic death in a plane crash, Stewart was proudly wearing the red, white and blue in the Ryder Cup at The Country Club. Few players were as intense as Stewart and nobody wanted to win more. However, once the U.S. clinched the Ryder Cup in incredibly unlikely fashion, Stewart made the ultimate gesture. Realizing the U.S. had already won the matches, Stewart conceded his singles match to Montgomerie, who was having a difficult week with rowdy fans. It was an incredible act of sportsmanship and a beautiful final, lasting memory of a great golfing champion."

 

I was lucky enough to be spectating on the 17th and saw them pass through. "a difficult week with rowdy fans" is a gross understatement.  And then there was "The Putt" by Leonard.

post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Ok - my oddball suggested candidates for greatest golfer to never win a major

Moe Norman

Paul Runyan

 

It's a testament to Moe Normans ball striking ability that he could ever be considered the greatest golfer to never win a major, when he is also the greatest golfer to never win a regular PGA tour event either.

 

Montgomery gets the award for me.So dominant for so long on tour and in the Ryder cup, but always falling short in the majors.

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